On Mobile User Experience

Of late a lot has been going on in the Mobile Domain. Needless to say, as designers, we have a huge role to play in the design of phones, its applications and the services associated with it.I have been following the Mobile market in an emerging market like India, very closely. With the tariff for the rates going down to the wire, where there is not further possibility of a reduction in the prices, User Experience and Customer Service IS going to be the differentiator.

Here below are three presentations that I came across today, while doing my readings in Mobile User Experience. I am sure each of them would have been more interesting to attend!

Mobile User Experience: What Web Designers Need to Know

A wonderful presentation, with a good insight into the domain of Mobile User Experience, and what Web Designers (and Interaction  /User experience Designers) need to look into, when designing experiences for the mobile phone.

Designing The Mobile User Experience

And then there is this presentation, that gives a sneak peak into the future. Of the exciting times that Mobile User Experience is going to bring along with it. What I am more interested in is how these high end phones can look to get into the emerging markets, provide similar experiences at a low cost.

Future trends in mobile user experience

I remember Pranav Mistry in his TED India talk mentioning about the need to make the Sixth Sense project open source, and thereby reducing the costs considerably. This would ensure that the technology is able to reach the masses and not just be limited to the elite.

. . . → Read More: On Mobile User Experience

On Publicy

Of late, I have been reading about the tremendous rise of the social networking sites. Facebooking is on an all time high and continues to grow further day by day. With more people giving their private data online, more companies asking for credit card details, friends keeping track via different channels, one is forced to think whether all this would be good in the long run.

I personally use two-three social networking sites and they have my information on it. When I started on these sites, I had all my information from my real birth date to my relationship status to my exact likes and dislikes on it. Over the years, I have removed some of the information. The irony of the situation is that even if you do that, all the people in the network get to know about it. So one would think that everything is lst in the name of networking and privacy is dead.

Recently I read about a term Publicy. Laurent Haug in his blog post titled ” Publicy the rebirth of privacy” talks about an interesting phenomenon that is happening everywhere. He mentions that “Privacy is not dead. It just went global and public, which doesn’t mean you can’t control what people know about you. Actually, it is now the other way around.”

Interesting article to read that one. And lots of food for thought.

The Fundamentals of Design

Came across this Interesting presentation by Nathan Smith. I think he touches upon some really interesting points on the Fundamentals of Design.

And the pictures used in the slides are amazing too!

Fundamental Design Principles

View more presentations from Nathan Smith. (tags: ux design)

Experience Photography

One of the things I have often wanted to during a photo-shoot is analyze why I enjoy doing it. There is a lot of the experience factor associated with a) clicking the photograph and b) viewing the photographs later. Now, I have traveled wide across India doing photography and had similar interesting experiences over and over again. One of the shoots that I recall well is the street photography on the streets of Kolkata, India. I had always wanted to find an answer as to why they call Kolkata the “City of Joy.” This album resulting from the photo-shoot is a result of that quest.

Kolkata 2007

Everywhere around me when I am clicking I am seeking to get a good experience of doing the act (of taking the photograph). I try to capture the elements that would at a later stage give me as close to the same experience I had while clicking it.

There were many factors that lead to the overall experience. Each moment that was experienced was expressed in the form of a photograph that can be said as an expression of that instantaneous experience. Today whenever I re-look at that photo album I am able to relate to the time I had, and the experience I had. For every shot I took there was a story associated with it and it was these individual stories or expressions that made up the entire experience a memorable one. These stories which are culturally constructed expressions, would be beneficial in a person recalling the experience, as well as to the people who are not familiar with the culture.

These photographs allow me to make a better sense of experience by virtue of connecting of the cognition (of what’s there in the mind from the past), the feelings . . . → Read More: Experience Photography

Kant and Experience Design

Introduction Quite often we have heard people questioning the existence and nature of design. Questions like ‘What is design?’ ‘Does design mean art?’ Is designing an object similar to saying beautification of the object? Some even say, design is common sense; and comes from intuition. If we go a bit deeper into these questions, we get to know answers to many more questions like, what role does Aesthetics play in having a good design? What are the factors to which a design owns is success? Is it pleasure it mere satisfaction? Does good design come from experience of proper understanding of a concept? Do the cognitive faculties of the human mind play a role in deciding the quality of a good design? Should a good design mean ‘globally acceptance’? Does design depend upon the culture and context? Do environments pay some role? How is a priori synthetic judgment possible?

In this essay we will see the relation of beauty, aesthetics, art and design. We will see the factor that makes an object pleasurable, and how it aesthetics is a valuable source for designers. The philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and excerpts from his essays Critique of Pure reason,Critic of Judgment, Claims of Taste have been put in; in order to give a more explainable answer to these above questions.

Concepts and Knowledge According to Kant, concepts came from pure understanding and not from experience alone as had been put forward by David Hume. Kant says that all speculation about the nature of things in themselves, beyond the phenomena of perceptual experience , is devoid of all meaning, and cannot even in principle attain the status of knowledge. Kant speaks of metaphysics- that body of knowledge that is both ‘synthetic’ and ‘a priori’ , rather than that body of knowledge which pertains . . . → Read More: Kant and Experience Design

Understanding experiences in photography exhibitions for Interaction Designers

This is a final paper I wrote for the Interaction Culture class at Indiana University.

ABSTRACT As Interaction Designers, two of the most important things that one needs to consider are the experience and also the audience being designed for. The presentation of the cultural expression is dependent on the presentation style and a thorough understanding of the audience. This paper aims at giving a close phenomenological understanding of a highly successful photography exhibition by India’s most renowned photographer, Raghu Rai. In the later part of the paper, from these points and an overall experience point of view, it is aimed to generate points for a framework for its application in Interaction Design.

Author Keywords Phenomenology, experience, exhibition, photography, interpretation, culture

Excerpts from the paper Interaction Design and HCI are constantly seeking for analogies from the established fields like computer science, the cognitive sciences, and other disciplines like sociology, anthropology, critical theory and philosophy. There has also been considerable efforts in trying to get an understanding from film theory and looking at experiences in film.

Photography exhibitions on the other hand are highly subjective. It is therefore more likely that any critical accounts of such exhibitions are phenomenological in nature. There is always the vision of a photographer that is being conveyed. And more often that not there is a mismatch between the intent of the photographer and the intent with which the viewer interprets it. There is also the element of time that comes into the picture when doing an analysis of the exhibition.

Conclusion Feelings and sensibility cannot be rationally expressed in words. It can only be experienced. Any exhibition of this kind, not only expanded the horizons for what can be exhibited in the Indian market today, but also helped in understanding what goes on in . . . → Read More: Understanding experiences in photography exhibitions for Interaction Designers

Sacred Digital Experiences

Cleaning is a sacred act. It has been done in the Indian culture (and also in other cultures around the world) since times immemorial. The Indian culture and traditions have been full of rituals and ceremonies in almost every event. And all of these rituals happen after an act of cleaning. There are festivals in which you have to clean up the houses as a compulsion, as it is said that the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, only enters those houses that are clean. In the traditional times (and also to a large population even today), people would not even take food without cleaning themselves up completely after bathing and performing a sacred ritual. This is even done in the coldest of months, and in the harshest of conditions. Many see these acts as cleaning the human soul. At times the act of cleaning also signifies the need to keep off the bad omen and the evil spirits. An extension of this is the ridiculously superstitious ceremonies that are held widely across the country. In times of adversities, the gods are summoned even more and every bit of effort is made to please the gods, so that the souls can be ‘clean’ and the society ‘cleaned’ of the adversity.

Being an Indian, who is religious, and who does not take any food on all most all days without having a shower (unless of course if I am starving), and who wants the goddess of wealth to bless me, I think that “Cleaning my computer’s desktop” (more specifically on a Mac) is a truly sacred act. The sacred experience that I have every time I have to clean my desktop gives me a joy and a sense of satisfaction that perhaps no other act does.

I see the computer’s desktop as an . . . → Read More: Sacred Digital Experiences

Analyzing Experiences

Analyzing Bruner’s Anthropology of Experience.

So, which was the last movie that made you go wow! That was an amazing experience! For me one of it was “Taare Zameen Par”, directed by Aamir Khan.

Which was the last photograph that you saw and made you go wow! This is great photograph. This was a series of photographs that I saw from the movie War-Photographer.

When was the last narrative that you read , that made you have a good experience?

Well… i am sure you would agree that the degree of experience is not the same in all of these. Most of the people would say that the movie watching is perhaps the best experience amongst all. I agree to that as well.

So getting a bit more into the anthropology of experience, we try to analyze why this is the case. Why a movie makes me go more wow as compared to a novel? The answer lies in the way we define reality (what is there is there… ), expressions (how individual experience is framed and articulated) and experience (how the reality presents itself to the consciousness). Experience is valuable only if its affecting the inner consciousness and that affect stays with us for long. Expressions or an experiences are short lived and we tend to get over it soon.

We know as discussed, that experience is a collection of a group of expressions or the “an experiences”. Anthropologists and ethnographers aim at experiencing the cultures and look at retelling in their words. This often leads us to believing what they say. However, there is a difference in the life lived ( the reality) , the life experienced (the felt) and the life expressed (the told).

Now there are two kinds of experiences. Felt experience and the Told . . . → Read More: Analyzing Experiences